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Education

“Two o’clock,” the customer service representative muttered. “Two o’clock?” I questioned. “Two o’clock,” he echoed. “That’s the soonest.”

It was over.

For the first time in my life I would be repeating an academic level. The rub—it was my final quarter before graduation.

I dashed through the glass double doors, sprinted across Liberty Avenue, darted up Penn Avenue and into the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I raced up the five flights of stairs to get to Mr. Easter’s classroom. As I walked in I puffed, “Mr. Easter, I need another extension. Just until two.” He stopped stuffing his soft briefcase. “Noon was the deadline, Chris,” he said. I slumped in defeat. I wanted to blame Washington Reprographics for not getting my project printed fast enough. I wanted to blame Mr. Easter for not understanding that by failing me, I wouldn’t be able to graduate on time. I wanted to blame someone.

But he didn’t fail me. I failed me. I was to blame, and it was a sickening feeling. One lazy action—putting off my project until the deadline—cost me $3,000 and three months of my life. I returned for the fall quarter and graduated that December.

That was 20 years ago, but that lesson is still fresh in my mind. Each year when fall hits, I recall that day standing in front of Mr. Easter absolutely crushed. But as they say, experience is the best teacher and had I not failed that class, I wouldn’t have gotten the great first job right out of college that I did, and I may not be on this page with you now. My entire trajectory changed in my favor because I failed. Life’s strange like that. It hurt, but I cherish the journey it took me on.

In this issue, Practical Pantry columnist Debra Caffrey shares a happy accident she had in Europe that changed and enriched her life and Christina Katz runs you down memory lane with fun, not-so-scary classics you can share with your kids this month. Fall is a wonderful time of year to make lasting memories. From creative costume ideas and pumpkin decorating to exciting outings at the pumpkin patch, this issue has it all. So round up your kids and enjoy the season. Make memories your kids will look back on, grow from and cherish.

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Pouches' Community Corner

Pouches Learns About the Power of Play

TRR

Healing PTSD can be a challenge for veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam. In Fredericksburg, Lance Sharp, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator for Team River Runner, has launched a local chapter of Team River Runner to make water sports on Fredericksburg’s beautiful Rappahannock River and nearby lakes available to anyone with a visible or invisible injury.

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